“The early bird gets the worm” and other adages will either make you groan or agree with the wisdom of experience. The same is true of these bold truths for home sellers. When necessary, we tell them to our clients because they stand the test of time, sale after sale.

When in doubt, get it out. This is a good one to live by if you have trouble decluttering the home for showings. Use these five categories: keep, sell, donate, trash, store out of sight. If you’re on the fence about that mammoth-size showcase cabinet that takes up a fourth of the dining room, move it out.

Less is more. Buyers want to see space and function, not the cool stuff you own. Stuffed closets, bulky furniture, family photos, and memorabilia need to be cleaned up and put away.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Research suggests the average impression is made in a measly seven seconds, whether good or bad. Don’t bother showing the house unless it’s ready in its best possible form. The impression begins with curb appeal, then every room builds the seeds of desire and value impression, which culminates in an offered price.

The first offer is the best offer. More often than not, this holds true. It’s a tough pill to swallow if the offer is a low ball. Don’t ignore it. Compare your home to others on the market, look at your showing activity, and review all feedback. Then, if appropriate, counter with a price you’re willing to accept.

Pretty sells. Aren’t getting the offers that your neighbor did even though your homes have the same layout? We can’t stress the importance of home updates enough because they matter so much. And extra care for things like manicured landscapes, freshly painted walls, and a whole host of decorative staging techniques that attract buyers make a big difference in offers. Even vacant homes sell faster and for higher prices when key rooms are staged.

If you don’t tell, the neighbor will. This is a nod to property disclosure. If you’re worried about buyers finding out about something that happened in the home (a leak, a major HVAC repair, a foundation issue), the property disclosure form explains what you must disclose. A friendly neighbor, electrician, insurance agent, pest control person, and possibly a hundred others will be more than happy to tell the buyer what happened after they’re in the home. You could face consequences well after the home has closed. Follow the law to protect yourself.

There’s never a bad product, only a bad price. Buyers won’t come looking if they don’t like the price. “Make me an offer,” you might say, but most of the time, buyers don’t want to test the waters unless they feel the seller is willing to negotiate. If a price is set way too high, the impression is that you’re unreasonable or not motivated to move.

Price it right and let them fight. Getting lots of showings means you’re doing something right. But are those lookers making offers? Maybe what they saw didn’t jive with the price you’re asking. Something stopped them. A well-priced home gets offers usually within the first thirty days. Make sure condition, features, size, and location of other sold homes match your range.

All real estate is local. While national and state statistics on real estate are interesting, they may not apply to you. Real estate varies from school district to school district, suburb to suburb, and street to street. Ignoring the reality of what’s going on in your neighborhood only delays selling a house. Want to know what you could get for your home? Ask us for a detailed market analysis of your area.

Real Estate Term of the Week

Latent Defect: A hidden defect in material and/or workmanship of an item which may cause failure or malfunction, but is not discoverable through general inspection. Also called hidden defect.

Platinum Service Realty